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A Grand Northern Ukulele Festival 2014

(C)2014 Edward A Sprake, all rights reserved

My first ever ukulele festival was amazing. One of the best ever experiences at a festival to date; so many happy, wonderful, nice humans and that’s before getting to the fun of the uke. Such a fabulous little instrument connecting all these fantastic people together.

We arrived on the Friday at the hotel (right next to the lazor quest and internet cafe, in case you were wondering). A hotel in which I later learned that pretty much everyone playing was booked into. All the artists had been emailing, prior to the festival, to organise a meet up and dinner that night to mingle and introduce each other. So I vaguely, via the interwebs and line up, knew of the characters I was about to meet, but not really.

After being entertained by small children getting drenched in the water fountains outside the train station, Father and I headed to the restaurant and sheepishly sat by the window (me) and ordered drinks (father) whilst we (me) proceeded to people watch, guessing whether these humans with trilbys and small instrument cases making their way towards us were ukulele players or had just time travelled from the 1930s. But that was just Jake.

edited DSC_1597-1(No but seriously there were Steampunkians in the form of the Mother Ukers, Trilby and Bowler wearers – including myself – and even a tailcoat, which lovely Tricity Vogue pulled off amazingly)

I’ve genuinely never felt so accepted into a new group of people so quickly than I did that night, although the usual not knowing awkwardness was definitely there, I felt triumphant that I’d chatted to and recognised faces from Ukulele Underground, ukulele YouTube videos and general ukuleleish Facebook connections. All in all everyone was lovely and I truly felt like I was part of something awesome.

After food we all made our way to the Head of Steam, to meet up with all the festival go-ers pre-festival and the other performers who didn’t make it to the meal to have a jam and watch Lionel K Hubert. Although missed Lionel (sorry!) we did catch snippets of Phil Doleman, and Andy Eastwood with a bit of Michael Adcock, which was all rather fabulous, plus lots of jamming that I harmonised on (although no one probably heard me, which was may be best as I couldn’t hear myself). The Head of Steam was THE place to be pre-fest and after the main concerts. There was a right good after party on Saturday night, in which I thoroughly enjoyed myself chatting to…nearly everyone. Didn’t even jam, which is something I regret and will look forward to joining in with next year.

Too early for my brain to function properly on Saturday morning, Father drove Clarice, the festivals ambassador of awesomeness, and myself to BBC Radio Leeds in which we chatted about how fantastical the festival was going to be, then I sang a bit and that seemed to go down well.

I want to chat about the rest of Saturday and Sunday but my brain is all a happy mess and for the life of me cannot remember which order anything came in so to summarise, I tried out some utterly gorgeous ukuleles, met even more amazing people, soundchecked at some point and got excited about the stunning natural reverb, attempted to jam songs backstage, walked up and down an inordinate amount of stairs, went to an awesome record store called Vinyl Tap to watch chilled Mr Remco or Ukulelezaza, had cake and tea, played a very, very small ukulele, watched Krabbers and The Mersey Belles, ate pizza, spotted a gold postbox so then tried to figure out who had won an Olympic gold medal from Huddersfield (still don’t know, and Google is cheating), experienced Tricity Vogue and the dancing penguin, made a mental note to tell Kris his sandwiches were fab, laughed a lot at Vonk and Vlam, watched the flipping Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britian and at some point Saturday night I sang onstage to a incredibly lovely audience who laughed and joined in, ukes and all, and how I smiled, I smiled so much that whole weekend my cheeks burned.

Feel like I’ve missed so much out. It was such an enjoyable weekend.

One CRUCIAL thing I need to mention is that on Sunday, myself, the hilarious Chonkinfeckle, fabulous Tony the GNUF co-organiser, amazing Ben Rouse and a bit of brilliant Vonk and Vlam were filmed for BBC Look North. Got some pics in the gallery below but here is the finished piece:

Compiled some photies, some mine, some not (I tell you which) this is just so you can experience the weekend with me and get your tickets for next year…

SEE YOU THERE! ;)

Click me for my GNUF Gallery (Use arrow keys to navigate)

P.S I also won in the raffle!!! A Moselele Bambookulele (it smells really good) and an arg…arg..argapo (?) t-shirt10624595_771204722938475_2791554594513978523_n

Remember to check out Ed Sprake Photography for even more amazing photos of the festival http://edsprake.com/

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Dolly Parton’s Jolene & BBC Radio Scotland

Ta da, here you go, my latest cover of a brilliant song. It’s amazingly written and something I love to perform in my live sets.

With regards to the fancy stuff on my vocals in the vid, absolutely no additional effects were added to the track in the studio. Everything was done in one take using my TC Helicon VoiceTone Harmony G-XT pedal and MP-75 Microphone with D.I. through my beautiful Fishman Loudbox Artist amp. Do love my tech. My babies.

I was also incredibly lucky enough to be invited to play my Jolene cover LIVE on BBC Radio Scotland on The Culture Show with Janice Forsyth.

Was in the studio with Vic Galloway too who was chatting about cover songs

Available only for a week and in the UK, but LISTEN AGAIN on iPlayer by clicking here.

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If you’re part of Team Bestel you’ll be able to get this for FREEEEEEE as well some other mp3 goodies, if not sign up: Click me to join Team Bestel 

Or if not, got Twitter? It’s on Twitmusic too: http://bit.ly/ZoefiedJolene

 

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Sir Lucas and the Moon OUT NOW

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Click me to buy!

Here is the official snazzy video for the single, Nobody Knows, off the album, filmed in The Bookshop in Wigtown complete with blurs and glows and such:

So that’s it – Sir Lucas and the Moon is available NOW (yay) Here are all the places in Dumfries & Galloway were you can pick up your copy.

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But it is also available online, on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon MP3.

If you would like a physical copy you can buy them DIRECTLY from meeeee by clicking here.

Thank you for all your amazingness. I honestly couldn’t have done it without you guys

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Sir Lucas and the Moon Pre-orders are LIVE!

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The countdown to the album release is here!!! You can pre-order your own signed copy now and I’M SO EXCITED.

SAVE THE DATE: 14.1.4.14

that’s 2pm (GMT) on the 1st of April 2014

LESS THAN 20 DAYSSSS!

Have a listen to all the snippets to the 10 track album here and tell me your favourite in comments:

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It’s been quite a crazy few months getting all the album stuff ready, and I know it’s taken a while but I wanted to get everything right and it’s been incredibly hard work. I’m not with a record label anymore so this whole album was purely done by me, I mean, everything was done by me. Well obviously I didn’t hand make the CD’s and I have a brilliant engineer and producer, but utterly everything else was all done by yours truly, even all the artwork…

If honest, because of that I’m rather nervous releasing it as I have no idea if it’s genuinely good or I’m being biased. But then again, I know I can be a perfectionist at the best of times and would never produce something I wouldn’t want myself. Aaah, it’s all so nerve wrecking though. This album is all my random thoughts and feelings and ideas over the past couple of years all squished together in a big blob of musicness with extra ukulele magic. It’s so bizarre to think that you lovely people will hear it all and my little voice will sing at you and you might like it, you might dance, it might even make you happy and that’s just amazing. That’s the dream. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Thank you, you beautiful people. Even if you’ve just found my little corner of the internet and are reading this now. Thank you.

So if you fancy it, and would like a signed copy of the album, you can click here to order one and I will love you forever

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End of Year Round Up 2013

That’s it! 2013 is coming to a close.

This year has been utterly amazing, I thank you all for being a part of it.

Remember to check out the video above for all the highlights and pics with a lot of you guys over this passed year (you can also laugh at the evolution of my hair, whilst I cringe…what was I thinking?!)

Thought in this post I’d play catch up to all the brilliant-ness that has happened over the past couple of months.
Starting with this, my Dumfries & Galloway Life Magazine, People of the Year Award. Given to me as Performing Artist of the Year, how amazing is that?

Then I was spotted on BBC’s Hebburn, little poster of meee:

Proceeded to do some brilliant gigs right through December all the way to Christmas Eve, were I had the honour of being asked onto BBC Radio Scotland on the Culture Show to have a chat and a sing song with the lovely Sanjeev (sitting in for Janice).

If you missed it, you can listen again here:

And that that’s, exciting year just gone, exciting year ahead. Very much looking forward to 2014 and all things ALBUM, dun dun duuun!

See you next year :)

P.S Shameless self promoting about to happen. If you sign up to Team Bestel NOW you’ll get EXCLUSIVE FIRST HAND FABBY GOSSIP about the upcoming album!!! Click here

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Adventures at the Imaginarium Festival in Peebles

Photo kindly taken by Ellie Morag – elliemorag.com

Just for the record, I pronounce Peebles (Peeb-ulls) like Peeb-lees just because it’s fun to say. There you go, just learned something weird about me…not really that exciting, though. Sorry.

Anyhoo, that’s were I was this past weekend. Playing up at Eastgate Theatre in Peebles for ‘The Big Gig’ as part of the 6 day Imaginarium Festival alongside crazy Jack Hinks (with his band, Charlie and Sean) and lovely Georgia Gordon with her cajón player, Isaac. Plus another Shaun/Sean who was rather steampunk and beat-boxed rather well with one of those mouth twangy things (obviously know the technical term).

Thoroughly enjoyed the evening gig and took a little trip around Peebles during the day. Everyone is so lovely at Peebles. As usual I ventured into the nearest sweet shop to hunt for spoggs, which they had *yay*. To add to my collection of spog names (i.e spogs, spoggs, jelly buttons) is Horse Cakes. Yup, in Peebles they’re apparently called horse cakes. Thankfully they tasted exactly the same as all the others (bar the squishy ones from Moffat). So in conclusing yay to Peebles sweet shop but nay (or should it be neigh) to the horse name…

Back to the gig, Dad and I took a few pictures (which I’ll upload shortly) but click here for a video of one of Georgia’s songs. This was the last in her set, an original called Black. Enjoy!

All in all, Peebles seems really nice and I think in future we’ll be making a slight detour there when we’re next on our way up to Edinburger for a cuppa!

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